Decades of declining “job churn”, which has meant fewer risks and opportunities for workers, is likely to be upended in the decade ahead as the combination of Covid-19, Brexit and the transition towards a net-zero economy brings about major changes in the UK economy, according to a new report.
In fact, the view that robots have replaced workers, and well-paid factory jobs have given way to low-paid, low-security gig economy roles are “very wide of the mark,” the report said.
The pace of change in the world of work has been slowing down, reducing the risk of people losing their jobs, but also limiting opportunities for workers to move upwards.
Economic change facing workers has been slowing for decades, reducing damaging job losses but also leading to fewer big pay rises, said the Resolution Foundation.
Its report, co-written with the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, challenged the popular conception that the labour market has been in rapid and accelerating flux in recent decades.
The biggest structural changes in the 2010s were in manufacturing and professional services, said the report, adding that this was a far cry from the scale of change in the 1980s.
“The labour market is often characterised as being in rapid flux, as robots replace workers, and well-paid factory work is replaced by low-paid, low-security gig economy jobs. But these claims are very wide of the mark,” Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation.
“The reality is that the pace of change has been slowing down, not speeding up. This has reduced the risk of people losing their jobs, but also limited opportunities for workers to move onwards and upwards.”Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation
Rui Costa, research economist at the CEP, added: “Covid, Brexit and the net zero transition are set to considerably reshape our labour market over the coming decade, leading to more job churn as some sectors and occupations expand, while others decline.
“Many workers will make the most of this change through pay-enhancing job moves, while others will face considerable challenges in adapting to the changing economic landscape.”